The North of Ireland has consistently been a hot-bed for wonderful bands, from the artistic nuances of Van Morrison, the power-pop melodies of Snow Patrol to the sheer, viscous energy of Stiff Little Fingers, beyond the (imaginary) border it feels like musical ensembles always have that bit of an added bite. Belfast based Cloakroom Q embody this sentiment, their psychedelic, alt-rock, acid trip of a debut EP Going For a Walk and I’m Not Coming Back is somewhat of an exploration of the unknown.
Introductory track “South of Sane” breathes life into the effort, it’s a brooding acoustic effort that ebbs and flows with the occasional jab in the form of a head-turning lyric – “I’ve planted a nail bomb on the doorstep, just for you.” The song slogs and trundles along, the almost eerie horn that bellows throughout the tune adds something, I’m not even sure what, but it’s adequately unsettling. Stand out effort is middle track “People with Energy”, a powerful dance-pop effort with a great, quippy chorus. Imagine if Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro formed a psychedelic side project, the end result would be something like Cloakroom Q. The track slaps, the group vocals grab your attention immediately and more importantly, it fits snugly within the EP whilst also making itself different from the crowd.
I’ve never seen Cloakroom Q live, but I need to. You just know that these tracks are built for a live performance, they’re loud, they’re complex and beautifully busy. “Feeding the Stranger” caused my neck to involuntarily bop due to its booming bass sounds before belting into the sonic experience that is “Unearth” – this song is a trip, words don’t really do it justice, just sit down in a dark room, lash on a strobe light if you have it, and listen. Stellar work.
You can listen to Cloakroom Q’s debut EP, Going For A Walk And I’m Not Coming Back, on Bandcamp now.